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General Chinese (Beginner Level)

eChineselearning provides a huge number of Chinese resources for Chinese language learners. The materials in this section are designed to teach Chinese to non-native Chinese learners of various skill levels. These basic Chinese language materials are edited by eChineselearning's professional teaching staff. And best of all, they are totally FREE! If you are interested in learning Chinese, the basic Chinese language resources in this section will be of a great use to you!

While learning Chinese expressions, it’s important that you understand the literal meaning and also the figurative meaning as well. Knowing the figurative meaning will help you apply the language to the appropriate situation, while knowing the literal meaning will help you avoid embarrassing or funny misuse of the expression or idiom. Just as with the ...


Your meeting with your new Chinese clients has just begun when you realize you left something essential behind. As you scan the meeting table you notice someone has just what you need. Great! Now all you need to do is politely ask to borrow it.
“我能借你的…? (Wǒ néng jiè nǐ de…) Can I borrow your…?”
What’s the ...


I get asked all the time by prospective students, new students, or even seasoned students–“How do I improve my spoken Chinese?” And not only do they want to know the answer to that question, they also want to know: “How can I do it fast?”
Often if you are a Westerner learning Chinese, you are not ...


In English it is common to compare someone running away quickly to a cloud of dust. In Chinese, there’s a similar slang word– “一溜烟 (yí liù yān),” which can be used instead. This word is fast as lightning, leaves smoke trails, and is its own disappearing act. With those English idioms you’ve got a pretty ...


It’s always fun to use Mandarin Chinese slang among Chinese friends. When we are joking around together, we often tease each other in a playful manner with “吐槽 (tǔcáo)” and lighten the mood. When we want to be self-deprecating regarding our sudden and impulsive behavior, there is another expression we can use: “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè).”
脑子发热 ...


When talking about how things look, we can use terms such as ”辣眼睛 (làyǎnjīng)”, or “spicy eyes” to describe something awful or we can use a term to rate how good-looking someone or something is using “颜值 (yánzhí)” which is much different from commenting on a woman’s beauty, however. “颜值 (yánzhí)” is a common way ...


There are some words you hear over and over again once you begin living in China. As a student of Mandarin Chinese, the words may not be so familiar to us as we learn from textbooks and study for our Chinese exams. However, some words and expressions are used quite frequently on a daily basis ...


Learning Mandarin Chinese is different from learning other languages such as Italian or French. It is nearly impossible to self-study Mandarin Chinese or learn through books and audio/video resources alone. To effectively learn Mandarin Chinese, you need to immerse yourself into a learning process with a native-speaking Chinese teacher. If possible, the opportunity to study ...


So you are learning to speak Mandarin. That’s great! But can you speak with native Chinese people? The first step to doing so is to use a little slang or at least be able to understand when you hear it in conversation. Today’s slang word is used as an exaggeration for describing something in its ...


In English we have the saying, “Take a chill pill!” This can be slightly derogatory, but it also can encourage others to relax a bit when they are being too up-tight.
In Chinese we have a phrase that very much relates to this meaning. It is “定心丸 (Dìngxīnwán)”. And it originally was used to define a ...


As we all know, rice is a very common food in China. We eat it all the time! If you look at the amount of chopsticks we use it to eat every year, you can see it is a staple in our diet and our life. There are many rice paddies in China, and much ...


There is one word that I ALWAYS teach my students when they are new to Chinese culture. As with any country/culture, relationship is everything. To interact with meaning with those around you, it’s essential you have an understanding of how business, interpersonal, familial and other types of relationships work. The word that best covers the ...


As you may know, colors hold an important role in the use of language in Chinese culture. The color “红 (hóng) red” is associated with fortune and good luck. The color “白 (bái) white” represents death and decay. “黑 (hēi) black” can represent integrity, but also indicate a fearful and pessimistic outlook on life. While ...


It’s important to learn Chinese words that also have negative connotations. This is why I have been teaching my students the word “小动作 (Xiǎo dòngzuò)”.
小动作 (Xiǎo dòngzuò) has two meanings:

1. Its first, literal meaning, is “small movement/action.”
2. Its second refers to simply a petty and mean action.
As you listen for this word in conversation you ...


The phrase “一口气 (yìkǒuqì)” is one I use a lot when I’m talking to friends and family about people I admire. Do you like to watch sports? Have you seen any athletes who can finish a competition in one go without stopping? Wanna know how to talk about their effort with your Chinese friends? If ...


In a recent lesson, I shared with you some of my classroom tips for practicing your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. In today’s lesson, I will do the same, but with another essential aspect of the Chinese language, the enriching act of writing Chinese characters. Usually, learners begin with learning pinyin, then move to reading and recognizing ...


Learning Chinese has one specific challenge in its early stages: pronunciation. The tonal sounds of Mandarin Chinese will be a challenge that you will have to overcome. A Mandarin Chinese learner will have to exercise and train their mouths to create the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation as best as possible.
First, you must learn from a native ...


Chinese Slang Words like “栽跟头 (zāi gēntou)” are the most important Chinese words to learn, because not only are they words that are used in daily life, but they are words that have a few meanings, which you can use in multiple ways in conversation.
Do you know people who seem to suffer from a ...


There are many types of people with many types of personalities. In Chinese we use different words to categorize different interpersonal characteristics. One such word is “闷葫芦 (mèn húlu)”. This type of person isn’t necessarily popular, because he/she is considered to be overall quiet, a silent type. It’s hard to know what exactly this person ...


One of my favorite things about Chinese is that it has a wide range of depth and meaning, especially when it comes to characters, or combinations of characters that have evolved into daily conversation piece over time. One such word is “放水 (fàngshuǐ)”.
It has, first, a very literal meaning:
放水 (fàngshuǐ): v. (of a reservoir) ...


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